Magisterial District Judge
17 district courts within Chester County
The Magisterial District Court is the first level of judicial authority in Pennsylvania and is the court where most people experience the judicial system for the first time. An elected Magisterial District Judge presides over each of the individual Magisterial District Courts. They are elected to serve in their districts for six-year terms and are employees of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
Cases & Bail
Magisterial District Judges handle all traffic cases, other minor criminal cases and civil cases involving amounts up to $12,000. Magisterial District Judges also set bail and conduct preliminary hearings in misdemeanor and felony criminal cases to determine if the cases should be dismissed or transferred to the Court of Common Pleas for further proceedings.
Officer of the Court System
Magisterial District Judges, as officers of the Pennsylvania Unified Judicial System, may administer oaths and affirmations and take acknowledgements. They also have authority to perform marriages. It is up to the individual judge's decision whether he or she wishes to perform marriage ceremonies. As there is no legally prescribed form for a wedding ceremony, religious services and vows conform to the secular content in which they are used.